What are the Benefits of Vehicle Tracking Systems?
Derek Ryan from Fleetmatics explains the main reasons that businesses decide to get a vehicle tracking system.
Fleet Management System Main Benefits
Fleet management can be a benefit to almost all businesses, whether their transportation facilities include company cars for employees or a fleet of vans for transporting goods. A business's vehicles can be among its most costly assets and running costs can make a significant impact on the profit a company. Fleet management helps a business track and maintain its vehicles in a quick and accessible way.
Benefits of a fleet management system can include:
- Increased Efficiency
- Lower Fuel Costs
- Easier Route Planning
- Higher Productivity/ Job Completion Rate
- Improved Driving Performance
- Increased Driving Safety
- Increased Customer Satisfaction
- Lower overall running costs
If your business hasn't yet implemented a fleet management system with GPS vehicle tracking, it could be worth your while to do so, as the implementation costs will usually be recouped very quickly.
Case Study : Marcia's Kitchen
Marcia Barrington explains how vehicle tracking has helped her business thrive:
Business Benefits Of A Fleet Management System
1) Reducing Fuel Consumption and Costs
Improving fuel efficiency and reducing fuel costs is considered to be one of the most beneficial features of vehicle tracking systems. With a diverse range of vehicle tracking functionalities the ability to plan better routes leads to less aimless driving, which, in return, costs your business less fuel money and time. Additionally, dispatching the nearest vehicle to the nearest job, avoiding traffic delays and road works, and monitoring unauthorised vehicle usage all lead to reduced fuel costs and increased profits.
Ways To Reduce Fuel Consumption:
The most obvious benefit of being able to reduce fuel consumption is by reducing costs themselves. Fuel prices can be a crippling burden on any business, so making sure you are not spending unnecessarily is vital to maximising profits.
How To Reduce Fuel Consumption - Driver Behaviour
It can be easily forgotten that how a driver drives a vehicle has a major impact on the amount of fuel used. A speeding vehicle tends to burn a lot more fuel than one that drives at a reasonable rate. Conversely, a vehicle that drives at too slow a pace can also burn fuel unnecessary, so a little research into your car’s model and performance can pay dividends in the long term.
Idling is another problematic practice for a company that wishes to reduce fuel costs. Idling is when the driver leaves the engine running when the car is not moving. In traffic this practice cannot be eliminated but encouraging a driver to turn the engine off when idle for long periods can reduce fuel consumption considerably. Investing in a telematics system is a great way to monitor driver behaviour and change bad driver habits in the long run.
How To Reduce Fuel Consumption – Maintenance
Making sure your fleet is in its best working condition is an essential part of running any proficient business. Not only does it save money on vehicle down time, a well maintained vehicle is a low carbon emitting one. Vehicles that are not well maintained tend to burn fuel at a much faster rate so a company that makes sure their fleet is in top condition is a company that saves an awful lot of money on fuel.
The temptation to save money in the short term by patching up your existing fleet and avoid the small but sizeable costs that repairs can incur, can be an overwhelming one. In the long run, however, this tends to end up costing far more with increased fuel costs and costlier repairs further down the line.
Reducing Fuel Costs Through Route Planning
It should come as no surprise that planning the most efficient route for your fleet’s various journeys is an important way to reduce carbon emissions, but you many do not fully appreciate the huge amount of savings this practice can achieve. This is especially true for large fleets and HGVs.
Careful planning also need not be complicated, with fleet management services and tools it is possible to reduce fuel consumption to its minimum, helping you reduce carbon emissions, fuel costs, time and your impact on the environment all in one simple practice.
2) Improved Record Keeping
Shuffling papers and losing job sheets become a thing of the past with the benefits of a fleet management system. Time can be organised with much greater efficiency and productivity can be kept at a high level. Fleet management systems also help businesses to keep accurate records of hours worked by employees and mileage undertaken, both of which are vital for good planning and auditing purposes.
3) Increasing Productivity and Enhancing Customer Service
Vehicle fleet management systems allow you to respond to customers more quickly by sending the right vehicle to the right job at the right time. Thanks to GPS tracking, you can pinpoint the location of any vehicle in your fleet at any time and dispatch them to the nearest job, whilst identifying areas of reduced productivity and explore ways to increase their time utilisation.
Fleet management systems benefit your customers and that ultimately benefits you. At the touch of a button, you have all you need to keep the customer informed. You can tell them precisely when a job will be attended and any delays or changes can be communicated immediately.
4) Improving Employee Efficiency
Many companies choose to install trackers onto their vehicles in order to improve the efficiency of their staff. Vehicles can be monitored to ensure that they are sticking to the routes and jobs that they have been assigned. A driver cannot claim to have been stuck in traffic for hours if this is not the case as the tracking device will show his or her precise movements.
This also means that drivers cannot make fraudulent overtime claims. Long haul drivers, in particular, often work with little supervision so could exploit their employers by claiming extra hours. Without a tracking device, there is often little evidence to counter a fraudulent overtime claim. However, a tracking device can show exactly what time a vehicle was parked up for the night. Fuels bills will also be reduced if drivers stick to the speed limit and do not wander off course.
5) Safety and Breakdown Recovery
It's important not to view fleet management systems as a method of spying on your employees, but to see them as a means of protecting their safety as well your business. The ability to be able to locate a vehicle at any given time has obvious safety benefits. Should a driver be involved in an accident, their exact location can be pinpointed within seconds and passed to the relevant emergency services. If the accident happens to be serious, this speed could potentially save lives.
Being able to locate a vehicle in the case of breakdown is also an important benefit of a tracking device. The sooner the location of a stranded vehicle is confirmed, the sooner a recovery can take place. The stranded driver can be found quickly and there is little risk of them having to stay with their vehicle for a long time. Additionally, from a business point of view, the benefit of a fleet management system is given due to the fact that the vehicle will be found and repaired more quickly, wasting less money on waiting times.
All this aside, by law, commercial drivers must take regular breaks and employers can ensure their drivers are doing so if they are tracked. This not only ensures the business is complying with its legal obligations but also benefits the individual driver's safety at work.
6) Lowering Insurance Premiums
Insurance is expensive and any saving which can be made on premiums is beneficial. Most insurance companies now offer reduced premiums to businesses that can produce vehicle data that can be backed up by a fleet management system. Also, vehicles with a tracking device are more likely to be recovered if they are stolen. Therefore, insurance companies reward tracked vehicles with lower insurance premiums.
This will give you the comfort of knowing that you can avoid costly rates. Such data will also help to reduce accident claims and unnecessary lawsuits that cost your businesses money year on year. The savings made on insuring a fleet of tracked vehicle can be used to offset the initial cost of installing the technology.
7) Promoting Responsible Driving
Vehicle tracking systems record the speed of vehicles, which means employers can see straight away when a driver is speeding. Drivers will be aware of this so are much less likely to break the limit. Not only is this safer for the individual driver, but the company's image will also benefit as the majority of fleet vehicles are branded with the company's name and information.
Members of the public will often report incidents of speeding and careless driving and when this involves a company vehicle, such reports can quickly bring a firm's name into disrepute. Vehicle trackers can, therefore, help to maintain or improve the public image of a business.
8) Managing Vehicles' Lifecycle
Monitoring the lifecycles of vehicles can be complex, but having this information will help optimise your fleet. The fleet management software can calculate the replacement dates of all of your vehicles and the costs associated with replacement. This will help a business replace vehicles in a timely fashion and not be faced with unexpected costs. As the fleet management software performs all the analysis of the vehicles it frees up employees to perform other tasks within a business.
Vehicle Tracking Systems Benefits For Specific Businesses
The benefits of a fleet management system can vary for specific industries such as courier services or long-distance drivers. While fuel consumption will be lowered and general efficiency will be increased for almost all businesses implementing a fleet management system, for some certain benefits can outweigh others. Customer service benefits such as being able to pinpoint a delivery down to the minute might be more important for courier or other short-distance delivery services, for example.
- Couriers - Courier services can benefit from vehicle tracking systems through increased efficiency on the job and increased quality of customer interaction. When a new job comes in, it is easy to dispatch the driver in the most suitable location. Real-time tracking lets fleet managers or switchboard operators inform customers of any unavoidable delays and set a specific delivery time.
- Taxi companies - Fleet managers for taxi fleets will also benefit from increased dispatch efficiency and, consequently, heightened customer satisfaction as people don't have to wait as long for their taxi to arrive. Real-time tracking allows you to provide your customer with a more exact ETA and also plan the next job for the cab.
- Long-haul & HGV drivers - Vehicle tracking for long distance drivers is now mandatory (every HGV must be fitted with a tachograph), but additional GPS tracking can increase driver safety and improve driving efficiency. Tracking and geofencing let you rest assured that your drivers are sticking to set routes and speeds.
- Asset tracking & rolling stock - Vehicle tracking systems benefit not just vehicles but also mobile assets such as cranes, wagons, trailers, forklifts and other transportation and construction equipment. Geofencing allows you to see where your equipment is at any given time, making it easy to ensure workers are sticking to pre-defined work plans but also preventing equipment theft.
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